Having been successfully bribed with beer, I am writing a blog about the Cutting Room Experiment.
The Cutting Room Experiment will - to quote their own word - use "the power of the web together we will produce the most groundbreaking event in Manchester. In 12 different themes 12 different flash mobs will be created involving genres such as art and design, dance, science to classical music."
It'll be interesting to see if any artists or curators take up the opportunity to do something with a bit of artistic substance, rather than producing smug and recycled concepts.
One of the major issues as I see it is that a lot of people have given up trying to have distinct opinions on what is art ( let alone what is good art ), in fear of being labelled some kind of fascist. I've been waiting for some tosser to roll out the twee attitude that flash mobs are "Art" in reference to this project, when clearly that is a deluded and undiscerning position to take.
So what is currently mooted to take place at Cutting Room Square in terms of art ( & it's estranged sister 'craft' ) on the 20th of June?
Looking at what is on there right now ( as of 12pm 24/05/09 ) the two most popular options are predictably ones which make me, at first glance, want to spit; 'knitters unite' and 'big hands.'
'knitters unite' is the most popular, and despite my prejudices, probably the least inappropriate one, since it is the "arts & craft" stream. I had thought the trend for hipster knitting had subsided, but apparently I was ( as usual ) wrong.
At Futuresonic the other week I found the way in which the building was dressed with little knitted bojangles rather sweet, so this could actually be the most visually engaging project mooted in the arts & craft stream.
'big hands' however...
"Fitting with cutting rooms heritage as a space to cut large pieces of material, a finger painting on a piece of canvas of epic proportions. A team of a few hundred people could surely create something monstrously good. Messy, fun and with a lasting impression. The work could be donated to the Art gallery or some similar trust."
Everyone's thoughtless scrawl is worthy of being called art now? It brings to mind that ouroboros of modern art: modern art looks like a child could have painted it = if it looks like a child painted it = modern art.
Oh! that lucky art gallery! Even the misplaced capital A suggests a slightly shaky grasp on what art is.
A recent blog by Johnathan Jones ( who else? ) states that the public cannot be trusted to commission art. Equally, as I fear the Arts & Craft stream of the Cutting Room Experiment will prove, they can be trusted even less to take a multi-authorial hand in it.
Why do I have a problem with this? Cause right now it seems that Manchester is incapable of plotting a course between uber-brow and sickeningly twee-tastic; both of which often are insufferably self assured and self reverential.
With a wider view, it often seems that a lot of public art at the moment sometimes doubt that the public can think about art abstractly and intelligently, apart from only in the most hackneyed and rudimentary manner.
If this has pissed people off, then prove me wrong. The deadline for idea submissions is 29 May 2009. I'd like to see something which was intelligent, and not so patronising in it's inclusiveness and intellectual crudeness. This could be an opportunity to do something wonderful, a clarion call, a chance to prove all the curatorial elite wrong.
But will it be?